Here at the Big Bad, we’re pretty big fans of Freakonomics. We bought and enjoyed the book. We regularly read the blog. The regular analysis of social phenomenon from an unusual perspective tends to be entertaining and insightful.
But when they go on about Drunk Walking, eyes over here start to roll.
Drunk walking is like drunk driving. But instead of driving, you’re walking. And, it turns out, if you walk and drive the same distance, while intoxicated, you are more likely to die if you are walking.
This should come as no surprise — if you’re in danger of heading across a busy intersection while not paying attention, you’re far more likely to die as a pedestrian than an individual tied down inside a steel shell. And the initial revelation, as it were, was fine and good.
But the folks at Freakonomics seem to want us to take drunk walking as seriously as we do drunk driving. But, while walking drunk is foolish — take a cab, by all means — it doesn’t deserve equal billing with drunk driving. Because the tragedy is not one of people endangering themselves by their own decisions, but endangering others.
People should be able to make their own bad decisions. Help to inform those decisions, sure, but unless you’re hurting another person, why not leave it there? Let’s save the over-the-top stuff for the real tragedy: when those decisions kill others.